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Suggest treatment for chronic pain in upper back, head and arms

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Posted on Tue, 26 May 2015
Question: I am a 23 year old male that has been suffering from chronic pain for the past year in my upper back, head and arms. The constant tightness is annoying but has not been alleviated with stretching and months of physical therapy. I have had an MRI of the neck revealing that I have spinal abutment but no cord compression or nerve impingement in the c5 c6 level. Surgeon pronounced me as normal and not in need of surgery. I have been having trouble with balance, coordination and always feel dizzy/shakey. It is not hard to get up but I just want to lay down when the sensation of vertigo gets too much. I want to be still. I have had twitches in my arms that make my index finger jerk open. It happens both when my arms are in use and when not. Trying to ignore the feeling or behave the same despite it seems to be make things worse. Talking for long period exacerbates the tingling in my neck and arms. I don't get that many headaches but I get "confusion spells" where I feel like the world around me is behind a wall of fog, I find it difficult to focus on anything passively. It is very distressing. Chewing often (a bad habit of mine) and yawning wide both seem to set off the nerves in my arms. I have had tingling that comes and goes in all fingers. Lifting anything that causes me to tense my neck/face seems to set off a series of convulsions and confusion/dizziness. Anything that shakes my body (running hard, bouncing, wrestling) feels like it sets off the pain. When the problem is flared up it becomes very hard to stay asleep except in certain positions on my side/back. When I am woken up it feels like there is a "drumroll" going off behind my ears. When I first wake up is usually when I am the most clear. There is no pain, very little confusion and I just want to lay there because staying upright feels like a very tiring chore. I have full range of motion but it hurts to keep my jaw open wide for very long and to speak loudly. Keeping my right scapulae back seems to set off a nerve that makes my ribs spasm. I am worried about certain terminal conditions. I am more worried about the fluid nature of it and the fact no doctor seems to have offered anything other than a minor/temporary improvement. I am seeing a dentist soon to have my jaw/skull checked out. My primary physician wants me to just see an osteopathic specialist about my shoulder/upper back. What would your thoughts be? Should I push to get an MRI on my thoracic spine and shoulder? Could a TMJ/ TMD problem cause all these terrible issues? Even without being locked? I have done boxing and MMA in the past. This all started after a bad fall that set off the rib pain/spasms.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi (4 hours later)
Brief Answer:
possibility of cerebral origin of symptoms.

Detailed Answer:
Hello
I have read your query.
There is possibility of cerebral origin of symptoms. Another common possibility can be due to cochlear injury there can be such symptoms.
I will advise you MRI brain and CT head and face.
you can start cinnarizin consulting your doctor.
TMJ abnormality may be associated with cochlear injury.
I hope I have answered your questions. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us. I will be happy to answer. Take care .
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi (20 minutes later)
What about the neck and arm spasms? How much of my condition could I attribute to just being in constant on and off pain? I have certainly suffered mentally from all this...had an anxiety attack last night after I read about "Fibromyalgia" and that is totally incurable/untreatable. Still, I feel that once I get some stability back in my body. Stable sleep, stable exercise, stable activities then the mental symptoms will fade. I am not a mentally weak person. My doctor has not investigated my head/face. How can I approach them about that?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi (36 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Neck spasm can be due to central cause from cerebrum.

Detailed Answer:
Hello again,

Neck spasm can be due to central cause from cerebrum.

You can consult neurologist for brain CT or MRI.

Do not worry about fibromyalgia, its diagnosis by exclusion.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

Take care.



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi (17 minutes later)
Thank you, doctor. Thank you SO much. Ive already made an appointment with an ENT and with your lead Ive finally got some answers and consistency in my home-care. I was almost spasm-free yesterday due in large part to just being able to stay calm and predict how/why I would feel a certain way.
Ill follow up on the brain/Skull CT and MRI. My primary physician has already agreed that this could be my big issue. I cannot stress how much this has helped. Just the knowledge that I'm not losing my mind and that there's hope I can improve has releived so much anxiety.
After checking up on my history/symptoms it actiually looks like I simply injured my inner ear after the fall and made it worse by lifting weights to alleve my headaches/dizziness. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi (12 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Welcome

Detailed Answer:
Hello

You can send your reports later on.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 5164 Questions

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Suggest treatment for chronic pain in upper back, head and arms

Brief Answer: possibility of cerebral origin of symptoms. Detailed Answer: Hello I have read your query. There is possibility of cerebral origin of symptoms. Another common possibility can be due to cochlear injury there can be such symptoms. I will advise you MRI brain and CT head and face. you can start cinnarizin consulting your doctor. TMJ abnormality may be associated with cochlear injury. I hope I have answered your questions. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us. I will be happy to answer. Take care .